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Eat this one veg and ditch the retinol

by | Jun 21, 2024 | What To Eat

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It’s Saturday morning- what are you up to today?

It’s more standing on sporting sidelines for me; ferrying, watching and tending to bruised egos.
But enough about my husband ;0)

As you might have realised by now, I really like food. Most food. And I eat as seasonally as I can- more to really enjoy the changing seasons than for any ethical or sustainable reason.

By the time winter is over I’m frankly very bored of roots and kale and yearn for softer summer leaves, salads and nectar-sweet stone fruit.

And when it comes to summer veg, my fridge is always stuffed with tomatoes, aubergines and glossy, green courgettes. 

So when I hear back from customers that they don’t like courgettes and/or aubergines I feel duty-bound to bring them over from the dark side- I mean if I can do it for tofu-haters, I can do it for the conscientious objectors of courgettes.

Firstly and crucially, courgettes need to be cooked properly (unless you’re having them raw in a salad) and I’ll wager it’s the texture that puts some off this veg. Because it’s not like they have a strong flavour.

If you’re frying (and why wouldn’t you) they make a gorgeous addition to a noodle dish, as a side for meat, or in a salad with crumbled feta, lemon and a crunchy crouton. Cut them into paper-thin rounds and they’ll cook super quickly and end up sweeter and very soft. Cut them into thicker rounds and fry on both sides (in one layer) until burnished for a sturdier, more toothsome dish.

When baking courgettes, I often microwave or blanch them first as they take AGES in the oven and I’m always impatient when it comes to food. And as above, undercooked courgettes are a disaster for everyone (ditto aubergines).

Grated into cakes, muffins, burgers and fritters, courgettes add texture and moistness (so sorry if you hate that word) to otherwise dry foods and grated into curries, bolognese and other saucy dinners, offer extra fibre and a big boost of Vitamin A– (immune system, eye health and skin- it’s essentially retinol) while being invisible to the naked eye.

Flavours that work insanely well with courgettes: BASIL (have you had our courgette + basil Soup??) also try Seggiano Basil Oil- quite outrageous on fresh tomatoes too. PESTO, LEMON, strong flavours like GARLIC, FETA + MINT, CHILI and other spices.

Remember:

  • Small ones are best– the big ones are tasteless and spongey
  • If grating and using in a cake, fritter or burger- Salt the courgette slightly after grating and squeeze the excess moisture out
  • Use lengths of peeled courgettes as you would lasagne and you’ve got a very low-carb dish.

My favourite courgette recipes.

1. Baked with feta, breadcrumbs and sunflower seeds and drizzled with basil oil
2. Ottolenghi Turkey + Courgette cakes (my kids LOVE these)
3. In a simple salad with mint, feta and lemon juice. Summer on a plate.
4. Courgette + Feta Fritters – email for the recipe!
5. This insane-looking Julius Roberts sandwich that I haven’t tried yet but definitely will v soon!

So you see, it’s WORTH falling in love with courgettes. Frequent consumption will make you look 10 years younger*

Further reading: If you’re on Insta- Claire Thomson at the 5 o’clock apron is cooking up loads of delicious-looking courgette dishes.

Have a fun-filled, sun-filled weekend.

Jacquie x

*I mean it might not but it’s worth a try